By : S. O. Boladale
“A great man does not seek applause or place; he seeks for truth; he seeks the road to happiness, and what he ascertains, he gives to others”
Even the most bias observer will agree that Governor AbdulRahman Abdulrasaq’s adminstration has recorded tremendous achievements in the health sector. The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic shortly after the commencement of AbdulRahman’s adminstration consituted a huge challenge to the nascent administration. However, the situation was promptly addressed, thanks to the unwavering competency of Governor AbdulRahman and dedicated experts in his cabinet.
At the height of the pandemic, a notable expert that stood out in Governor AbdulRahman’s cabinet was Prof. Wale Sulaiman, Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters. The Prof. put himself on the frontline to address the Covid-19 behemoth and tackle critical health problems that have bedevilled Kwara State since the return of democratic governance
Professor Wale Sulaiman was appointed Special Adviser on Health Matters to the Governor on August 26th, 2019. Commenting on Professor Sulaiman’s appointment, Governor AbdulRahman expressed confidence that the renowned Professor of Neurosurgery will bring his wealth of experience to bear in the delivery of affordable, innovative and qualitative healthcare to the people of Kwara. This is expected given Professor Sulaiman’s excellent profile detailing vast experience in the private and public sphere of health and social care.
Before his appointment to office, Prof. Suleiman is a well-known Neurosurgeon locally and internationally. He is also a Professor of Neurosurgery at Tulane University and up until January 2019 he was the System Chairman of Neurosurgery and Co-Medical Director of a Neuroscience Institute with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, USA. Without doubt, the Governor clearly recognised Professor Sulaiman’s strides home and abroad and this partly influenced his appointment into the state cabinet to revamp the health sector.
Achievements in Office
In his capacity as Special Adviser to the Governor on Health matters, Prof. Sulaiman contributed so much and without mincing words, his achievements are well recognised by all and sundry. Within the span of one year of his dedicated service to the State, Professor Sulaiman utilised his expertise in revamping moribund healthcare infrastructure across Kwara State.
As a medical expert, he envisioned and implemented programs for affordable, innovative and qualitative healthcare services delivery for the benefit of the good people of Kwara state.
A landmark achievement of Kwara State Health Sector under the advice and supervision of Professor Sulaiman is the rehabilitation of the moribund Sobi Specialist Hospital. The government also made available about 10 new ambulances spread across the state for effective service delivery. In addition, Professor Sulaiman and his league of experts facilitated the first Intensive Surgical Intervention program where over 500 local patients in Kwara State benefited. He also proposed a strategic Healthcare Master plan for the Kwara State Government which, if implemented, will transform the state Healthcare sector for good.
As the Secretary and later Vice Chairman of the Kwara Covid-19 Committee he collaborated with the team in developing workable strategies towards curbing the spread of the virus in the state. Consequently, Kwara state was ranked third in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic in the federation.
In his capacity as Kwara state Diaspora Focal Person (NIDCOM), he ensured that Kwarans in diaspora solidarize with the state government in the fight against Covid-19. Through this avenue, Kwara State Association of Nigeria in North America donated a significant number of hand sanitizing machines to the government. It was under his watch as the Kwarans in Diaspora Focal Person that the Kwarans in diaspora associations and organisations harmonised into one united organisation known as Kwarans in Diaspora (KID).
At several instances, Governor AbdulRahman commended the efforts of Prof. Sulaiman towards revamping healthcare infrastructures in the state. For instance, while giving opening remarks at the Kwarans in Diaspora Virtual meeting held on July 3rd, 2020, Governor AbdulRahman stated that:
“we are happy to have Professor Wale Sulaiman who have been giving us sound advice on how to battle the surging pandemic. We have not flattened the curve yet, the number of cases is still on the increase due to failure of some of our people to take adequate precautions. To avoid more issues, we have mandated people to keep observing social distance, use face masks and sanitize from time to time”.
Reflecting on the recurrent Healthcare challenges in Kwara, the Governor further commended Professor. Wale Sulaiman for being a worthy and excellent expert. According to the Governor:
‘Having Professor Wale Sulaiman on our side is a great honour. We are so lucky to have him. Professor Wale has helped us to design a road map for investments. His contributions were exemplary in the resurrection of our oxygen plant which has not worked for about 10 years, and it has been working well to the point that neighbouring states now depend on Kwara for oxygen supplies.’
Resignation of Appointment
Given the vast contributions of Professor Wale Sulaiman to Kwara State Health and Diaspora affairs within barely a year, one would have wanted to see more. However, the Professor’s resignation as SA Health Matters on 19th August 2020 came as a very shocking surprise. However, his one year in office seemed like many years because he utilised all of of his expertise to resuscitate Kwara State from 16 years of healthcare comatose.
Professor Sulaiman ascribed his resignation to the dire need to serve humanity in a private capacity. He however reiterated commitment to the government and his readiness to continuously support the much-needed change and transformation in Kwara state through philanthropic efforts, economic and social empowerment, as well as the promotion of investment opportunities and partnerships with Kwarans in Diaspora.
Essentially, Governor AbdulRahman, commended the professor on his resignation and lauded the support that was rendered to his administration. According to the Governor in his press release:
“Prof Sulaiman remains an ally! Prof. Wale Sulaiman is leaving his cabinet position to pursue his long-time passion of maximising his contacts in the global health and non-health sectors to deepen interaction with the Nigerian diaspora and attract investments. While this is strictly a personal passion of Prof. Wale Sulaiman, our doors remain open to him and other great minds like him in our commitments to rebuild a Kwara we would all be proud of. Indeed, the government will continue to consult with Prof. Wale Sulaiman on relevant aspects of our policy direction as an administration.”
From the position expressed by the Governor, one is left with no doubt that Prof. Wale Sulaiman was a monumental personality that briefly but mightily transformed the state of healthcare in Kwara State.
Even as Professor Wale Sulaiman adds another year to his life today, we pray the Almighty to grant him more prosperous years filled with national and international accomplishments that will outlive him.
Amb. S. O. Boladale
Ilorin, Kwara State.